First, what is Bamboo Massage? Second, what is the history and origins of Warm Bamboo Massage? Third, who developed it? Who taught the first class?
What is Bamboo Massage?
Bamboo Massage is a practice that incorporates the use of warm bamboo and rattan tools to knead and massage the muscles of the body. The heat of the Bamboossage® sticks warms up the tissue, which prepares the muscles for deep tissue work. Pivoting movements, along with kneading and rolling techniques, soften the muscles.
Clients mainly appreciate the warmth that the bamboo produces best. It is hard for them to distinguish between tools and hands. In essence, the therapist’s hands and tools become one, both in regular contact with the body.
Although a deep tissue massage is relaxing for the client, it is, however, not an easy technique for the therapist to perform. Since the bamboo tools are comfortable to hold, they become a means of both treating the client and protecting a therapist’s hands. Whereby saving them from the rigors of deep tissue work.
What is the History of Bamboo Massage?
The origins of Bamboo Massage are vague, though history notes its use in Southeast Asian countries for centuries. In those parts of the world, Bamboo, an indigenous material, was readily available. Years ago, one of my Ashiatsu students told the class about a bamboo massage treatment that she had experienced, and later learned, from a spa in Brazil. So as far as we know, it was their idea.
Immediately, I could see the potential of Bamboo Massage. After researching the history of bamboo massage, I realized that no one was teaching it. I wanted to be the first to provide therapists with the opportunity to learn new therapy.
Who developed Bamboo Massage?
I watched the student’s routine and technique. She warmed the pieces in a heating pad and rolled the pieces over the client. Nothing exceptional and it was not going to pass as a deep-tissue treatment. Plus there was no technique to it.
With the right technique and the proper pressure, it had promise. As a result, I offered to develop it into a deep-tissue program, and the student accepted. So the work began.
We were trying to finish the table routine for the FSMTA convention but ran into time constraints. So I quickly threw together the idea of a bamboo chair massage routine to debut instead. It was a success!
Afterwards, the student decided to go out on her own, taking my bamboo chair routine with her and submitting for both my trademarks. It, of course, ended badly. An expensive lesson in partnerships. To answer the question of who developed Bamboo Massage that would be Michelle D. Mace, CEO of The Barefoot Masters®.
For the most part, the table routine was almost done. But, I decided to let my instructors in on the process of finishing up the routine. Then, I called the Hyatt and asked if their massage therapists would like to be part of the process. Since I knew most of them, they were excited about seeing it firsthand. Next, we set up a practice run. Massage therapists are creative by nature, so it was fun to watch them come up with new ways to use the tools.
Who taught the first Bamboo Massage class?
Quickly, we put the finishing touches on the the table routine and developed the first warm bamboo massage table course offered. The first class of Bamboossage® table massage was taught at an AMTA convention in Alabama.
In spite of what happened, I let the Bamboo-Fusion trademark go, as I didn’t like the hyphen. But I fought for the Bamboo2Go® Chair Massage trademark and won. Unfortunately, it came at a substantial cost, and it took some years to recover. Here is a reference link.
Later, others decided to jump on the bandwagon and were offering bamboo massage courses, along with facial toolsets and routines. Unimpressed by their methods, I decided to persevere and set out to develop a thoughtful bamboo massage toolset that was considerate of the shape of the massage therapists hands, as well as the muscles.
When did it take off?
Then The Steiner Group contacted me to train them for the concessions on the cruise ships. We sent nearly 250 Bamboossage tools sets within a 2-3 years span. Once all the cruise ships were offering Bamboo Massage, the technique took off like wild fire.
Who developed the first Bamboo Facial Massage?
Not me, of course. Most of the facial tool sets I previewed were factory-made from bamboo pulp and glue. The glue would not stand up to the rigors of being heated in a hot towel cabbie. Nor were the protocols all that exciting. The client is supposed to fall asleep, not the therapist.
All of our sets are handmade and sanded in the USA. We fashion each piece from solid, durable rattan. These sets should last forever. Because bamboo is hollow, it contracts and expands when heated. Under heated conditions, they crack. It makes them unsuitable for this use. Or if made from preformed dowels of bamboo pulp and glue, over time the glue will break down from moisture and heat.
Additionally, I am both a licensed massage therapist and esthetician. And as a developer of continuing education, this is a perfect combination to produce a toolset and protocol with both groups in mind. And so the rest is history.
We offer Bamboo Massage training for the table, chair and face. Also, all of our classes come via live, home study and online courses. Click link for more information.
Michelle D. Mace, a 20 year veteran of massage as well as an esthetician is the CEO of The Barefoot Masters®. As a continuing education developer, she dedicates all modalities and techniques to saving the hands and bodies of massage therapists.